tv Countdown With Keith Olbermann MSNBC October 20, 2009 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? "the washington post" poll, not only do americans want the public option, they want the public option more than a bill republicans would agree to. the majority leader in the senate takes heart and a firm stance about possibly taking a firm stance later on, maybe, in theory. >> we are learning towards talking about a public option. >> why the pussy-footing around? we're going to let people go broke trying to save their children from things like cystic fibrosis. at least we can make it easier to file for bankruptcy to save families like the burns getting 60 collection calls a day in the e.r. because they could not file
quick enough. >> a sit in a chemotherapy chair once every few weeks and listen to people and how they are going to afford the to the get the care to stay alive. >> now, two fronts are open. press secretary gibbs on how fox noise differs from news networks. you and i should watch around 9:00 tonight or 5:00 in the afternoon. but the less obvious influence of fox's opinions shows, side doors on which to push phony news stories on their nonopinion shows into the real media. like, all the tv networks get together to do special theme weekend dramas and sitcoms on volunteering. or as lonesome wars put it, >> it's almost like we're living in china right now. >> uh-ha. publicity stunting. he already wrote a theme song. ♪ tune into the show and watch
richard heene. all that and more on "countdown." >> this is fantastic. >> good evening from new york. the day after a new poll confirmed not only that most americans want a public option, but that most americans want a public option even if not a single republican would vote for it. senator majority harry reid is asked about the public option and he gets cute about it. while americans are going bankrupt, dying. but first, the new poll has senator chris dodd and max baucus hashing out whether it will have a new public option. we had discussed this news hour. americans want a public option. 57% more elected mr. obama.
more than one out of three want the public option. support up five points since the republicans went on a town hall rampage against the public option in august. the numbers strongly opposed is down four points. and bad news for republican senator olympia snowe granted her considerable say to get her vote. most americans would rather have a public option than senator snowe's vote for a plan without the public option. 51% preferring a totally partisan, democratic-only bill. only 37% of the country saying no sacrifice to win some kind of bipartisan support. the notion that americans consider health care reform too much government, this wake up call, only 42% of the country thinks it's too much. 55%, the clear majority say it is just right or not enough. nevertheless, when mr. reid was
asked today if talks were leaning towards a public option, he first joked they were leaning about a public option, whatever that was supposed to mean, and then that they are leaning toward talking about it. >> are they leaning toward or against the public option at this point? >> they are leaning about a public option. i said -- he said are we leaning toward or against a public option. we are leaning toward talking about a public option. no decisions have been made. we had, not a long discussion last night, but i have had a number of meetings in my office dealing with democrats and republicans on it. when the decision is made to send it on to the cbo, i will have made a decision as to what we're going to do about a public option. it's not done yet. >> mr. reid's obtuseness is odd since they had already told
"roll call" they discussed public option last night. insight on why mr. obama's approval dropped 15 points in the last month, and that is among democrats. let's turn now to democrat anthony weiner of new york. thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> senator reid can ask to vote for a public option or without. neither has 60 votes supporting it. why is he acting like the public option alone has to clear the 60 vote hurdle? >> it doesn't. you just need 60 votes to allow the thing to be voted on the floor. he has to make a basic decision. do we want majority rule or not? a clear majority of the house and senate want a public option. the question is, do we allow the minority to drive the train? and we shouldn't. i did something interesting recently. i have a website called countdowntohealthcare.com. we put on a pin map who wants health care. it's coast to coast. it's red and blue districts.
people want a choice and lower cost on health care. i like senator reid. he had a difficult job, i grant that. if we can't allow 60 votes just to get it to a vote and then let the majority decide, i'm not sure we even deserve to run the house and senate. >> why is the president down in this poll, do you think, 15% among democrats in terms of his position on health care? >> he was elected and a lot of us were elected on part of a promise to do something for health care. his seemingly desire to let it this process be governed by senator snowe, who seems like a very nice senator, but i don't think we want to outsource it to her. i think the moment the president puts his finger on the scale for a public option, people start remembering why they voted for him and will rally to that cause. and i think senators will, members of the house and senate will, and the public will even more so. remember, we're at 57% even without the president in a
full-throated way embracing it and going around the country rallying support for it. >> it's about this and the position. this is the year we start health care reform in this country. anything it says, health care and insurance are rights, not privileges is a historic victory and changing of society that there's too much look at the trees and not enough forest imagery, is he right about that? is the white house right about that? >> ehe's wrong in a fundamental way. we get one crack at this in ten to 15 years. we control the house, senate and white house. if we don't get it right and show people are going to stop losing their insurance and stop listening to people who voted for president obama and the democratic congress, i don't think if we're going to sget a
second crack at it. we were successful with medicare because we did it right and over the objections of republicans and over the objections of the people saying we were socializing it. they have the public option, they seem not to want the rest of us to have it. >> the poll, what does it do in terms of assessing -- i've asked you this three times. if the bill passes without a public option, more people think health care reform does not go far enough than think it goes too far. >> look, we cannot pass a bill in the house without a strong public option. why would we want to? when we see 57, i think it's more than that. when you compare it to medicare, it goes up over 60 points. this is something we have been talking about for six, seven,
eight months. why leave the public option aside? to continue to worship the alter of olympia snowe? that's one vote. we were elected to do it. let's do it. >> thanks for your time. >> thanks, appreciate it. >> let's turn to howard fineman also the senior correspondent for "newsweek" magazine. good evening, howard. >> hi, keith. >> maybe this is too simple of a question. what's harry reid's problem? >> well, let's see, there are a few of them. one, he's caught between the weaner of the house and bun of the senate. sorry. the problem is -- the problem is, as congressman weiner said, they can't pass a bill in the house without a public option. harry reid is convinced he can't pass a bill in the senate or get it to the floor with a public option, but he's going to try to sneak it through. that's one problem, the math in the senate. another problem is nevada. nevada went for obama by 13 points in 2008. but harry reid is unpopular right now.
he doesn't know where to turn politically. a lot of union people in nevada are worried about taxing those big health care plans. and the third problem he's got is president obama who has not really put the wood to the moderate democrats who are saying they will not vote for a public option. >> talking points has done things that suggest don't worry, reid is onboard. if it ends with a public option in the final bill, why not just stand up on principle and lead, especially since the people are already onboard? the people, the voter, those the people, the voter, those guys? option. >> talking points memo and >> the voters are on board. there are four or five, at least, democrats, numbers vary, but four or five who said publicly or privately that they will not vote for something with
a public option in it. ben nelson said the other day, i will not vote for it if it has that in it. harry reid's problem is to design something that partakes it public option that's enough of the public option in the bill that's to be voted on to the floor to get 60 votes in there. he needs a whiff of the public option in there so it can remain in the bill, procedurely you want to have the bill and force somebody to vote it out rather than the other way around. that's what he's trying to do. >> are they all still pushing for the public option, but preparing for life without it? in a serious degree, what percentage of the impact of the a public option do they think they cp they can gthey ca ideas of tideas of the insuran. >> well, i'm not sure how seriously they think the other
things will work. what would work is senator pwy p up health care and healt insuranp insurance insuran allowip allowing individual health insurance nationwide. that's his radical alternative. they are not considering that. without the public option, it has to rely on firm, federal regulation and gets rid of the antitrust exemption. the antitrust exemptio healp healhealth insurance parp parts of tparts of th virtur virtual monopoor cost-cutting reform.p>> >> ar are doiare doing her republicans doing it worse?pir bipartisanshp bipartisansit mumuct mur mumucmun anti-patient platform? >> i can't explain why they
think the way they do, sometimes. they are concerned about the public option, they're worried about deficits and debt. in this recessionary period, they are worried more about health care, keeping what they have and making sure everybody has some. i think the republicans may reap short term gains from their position here. in the end, if the democrats get a bill, almost any bill, it will be the democrats in the end who will benefit. >> howard fineman, great thanks. thank you, keith. >> another choice meantime of death or debt. it is, of course, bad enough that some people will go bankrupt because of health care, but can't we at least make the positive effects of bankruptcy easier for those people? no we can't, say the republicans. even after a family deafs to senator whitehouse's committee that while in the e.r. with their son with cystic fibrosis, they were getting 60 calls a day from collection agencies because of the red tape involved to go bankrupt to get him the treatment he needs so he could breathe.
bills. at least we can make it easy erk better for the families, right? republicans say no, screw them. senator sheldon whitehouse joins me next, after an emotional day of testimony from the likes of elizabeth edwards. and drop in a scene or two about volunteering. glenn beck has just announced it means we might as well be living in chairman mao's china. "worst persons" ahead on "countdown." ng, turn-by-turn-direction- giving sync® system ...in the all-new taurus from ford. (beep) (sync® voice) please say a command. read message. (sync® voice) highway 8 closed. update route. (sync® voice) turn right on silver road. (announcer) we speak car. we speak innovation. introducing the all-new taurus from ford. drive one.
spips they have since lost their savings, their home and their son. the fallout continues. our fourth story, new legislation aimed at helping americans forced to declare bankruptcy and to do it quickly. the man overseeing it, senator sheldon joins us momentarily. holding hearings on the medical bankruptcy fairness act. providing assistance to those buried in medical debt. they tried to help their son. they took leaves from their jobs and lived on disability and unemployment pay. after several surgeries, the burns' fell so far behind from their bills they could not recover and young finnigan lost his battle with cystic fibrosis in march. his parents are still fighting theirs against creditors. >> we needed a $250 retainer and
a $1,300 filing fee. we had to borrow the money in order to officially go bankrupt. >> they had to go through mandatory credit counseling. they said it was demeaning and demoralizing. senator jeff sessions opposing the elimination of an income-related test for medical debtors. his point -- requiring people above the median income to pay back something is not unfair. >> if they do have high income, then why shouldn't they pay their hospital? >> backing the white house proposal, elizabeth ed yards who testified the plan would be a less catastrophic bankruptcy option that recognizes unique circumstances. >> i sit in a chemotherapy chair once every few weeks and listen to people speaking with the person who accompanied them, wondering how they're going to pay for the kinds of care that they need in order to stay alive. >> joining me now as promised,
sheldon whitehouse. senator, thanks for your time tonight. >> good to be with you, keith. thank you. >> how is this not a no-brainer? >> i don't know, you got me. this is the perfect family, carrie and her husband both worked. they're a hardworking american couple. she's worked since she was 14 years old. everything looked ideal. then comes the diagnosis their little boy has cystic fibrosis and the nightmare of all that medical care and ultimately losing their son begins. and on top of that, gets piled op the nightmare of dealing with our broken health care system and dealing with a bankruptcy system that treats them as if they were crooks, as if they were there to abuse the system. >> and nobody is asking -- and you're not proposing a bailout for each of these families to use the appropriate term.
you're asking simply to make what is an ugly and life-changing process, in addition to the horror they've gone through, the ugly and life-kanging process of bankruptcy just a little bit faster and a little kinder. is that essentially what you're asking? >> yeah, the human element of this is important. we have talked about the health care problem in terms of socialized medicine. we talked about the concepts and bankruptcy. here is a mother, in the intensive care unit with her dying son and she's being bombarded by collection agencies calling her on the cell phone. when the boy dies and she has to come home to rhode island, she has to sell goods on ebay to pay for the gas and the tolls home because she's so broke. when he gets back and tries to go into bankruptcy, she has to undergo credit counseling and answering questions like what has this experience taught you about better managing your credit? she's doing it to a machine. there's a computer on the other side of the credit counseling.
for a party that likes to say the government should keep out of people's lives, this is government. requiring a mother who just lost her son to go through nonsensical credit counseling just to string out the process longer. i think the original purpose of this bill was to string out the process longer so credit cards could make money off of people longer. l let's at least carve out people who have had a medical catastrophe. >> do you feel, when you see the d disconnect from the simple humanity of a situation like this, in hundreds and thousands of other cases exactly like the burns family, do you want to ask the folks opposing you here, have you ever been sick? have you ever thought about how much worrying about paying would make it more difficult to get better? >> yeah, and i think one of the things we've tried to do on the senate floor is to bring as many of these personal stories forward to the american public.
this health care fight is not a fight about concepts. it's not a fight about ideologies. it's a fight about families who think they have coverage, then there's a hole. they lose everything they have fought for. it's a fight about people who think they have coverage, lose it, then don't go to the doctors and miss the critical diagnosis and their disease takes them on deadly path because they didn't get diagnosed in time. these things happen over and over and over again and the human cost of our present health care system simply has to be brought home over and over and over again against the propaganda. >> senator, i congratulate you on your restraint and not slamming your head against one of those marble walls behind you when you deal with this and this kind of intensity. as always, my compliments and thanks to your credit efforts. senator whitehouse from rhode island and the judiciary committee. thank you, sir. >> thank you, keith.
tonight, a push to rescue journalism from that hostage drama over there on fox when "countdown" continues. ittle more softness. with ultra downy, you're surrounded with softness. the kind you can't get from detergent alone. feel more. sava dollar at downy.com. the moisturizer in other body washes sits on top of skin. only new dove has nutriummoisture... which can nourish deep down. new dove body wash with nutriummoisture. superior natural nourishment for your skin. the gold delta skymiles credit card... from american express... it's the official card... of the world's largest airline. and it's the only credit card... that earns miles on delta. miles that take you... to more places than ever before. over 350 destinations worldwide. so switch today. get up to 25,000 bonus miles-- good for a free flight. call now to apply. there's no annual fee for the first year...
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years under the sofa cushions of history, i once asked him directly, i know, he said, methusela. so bob shepherd, happy birthday. birthday, number 99. let's play odd ball. we begin in northern california where siblings cross country journey with a live coyote jammed in their radiators that's your problem there. around the utah border, they noticed a pack of canines at their front. they assumed the worst, stopped eight hours later. they noticed the living, breathing coyote in their grill. aside from a few scrapes, it was doing fine and able to escape back to the wild. authorities are now cautioning
locals to beware. they issued this image taken seconds before impact. beep beep. st. peters burg, florida, crazy shouting led to an old guys fight after the county tried to private tiez a sidewalk. the 76-year-old man in the hawaiian shirt took a poke. the other guy, 61 wearing a jed bush sucks shirt. he was walking out of the meeting before both hit the deck. the donnybrook cost them both a trip downtown. they were charged with disturbing the peace. finally, a tale for people doing live demos on the air. this is from a home shopping network. they're pushing a tennis game for a nintendo wii when something goes whee! >> right here, i'm getting ready to serve. i throw the ball up in the air and there goes the tennis
racket. >> act now and you get this gently used plasma television. you can see a big horse. maybe a butterfly or might be a moth. the real danger of fixed news, the white house continues the pushback, then caused the re reacti reaction of the news. that's next. "dateline" washington, best selected amnesia newt gingrich. anita dunn makes a joke and she's a maoist. how they use this quote. war is politics with blood. politics is war without blood. hmm, that's from mao.
it was used in may of 1995 by then speaker of the house, newt gingrich. the mao quoter. number two, best widing under a bushel basket. charles wesley mumbere was until july an assistant working in nursing homes in maryland and pennsylvania. and date line, portidge town, mn pn. donna conners found a racoon under her mobile home. she decided to set off eight to ten smoke bomb fireworks which promptly set the mobile home on fire. nobody was injured, especially not the racoon. ♪ baby you dropped the bomb on me ♪
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me. it was the standard of the yellow journalism dating back to the 1890s. even earlier. make up a story, print nit a gossip column or a rumor, then when someone denies i it or reacts to it. then suddenly it's a story. the reaction, the denial, you can put in the newspaper. then if you want to really play the game, you can criticize the other newspapers for not covering the story, which then forces a lot of them to cover it. the continued attempt the white house to rescue news from fox.
mean what time, white house press secretary robert gibbs said, we render opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness of their coverage. when asked the difference between fox and other news networks, his answer, you and i should watch sometime around 9:00 or 5:00 this afternoon. a nonexhaustive list details dozens of instants. including october 1, america's news room, bill hemmer advanced a smear that the department of education safe school adviser knew of statutory rape but never reported it. may 6 urks the falsehood that democrats tried to protect pedophiles by voting in favor of a local crimes prevention hate act.
april 15, america's news room promoting t.e.a. parties, directing viewers to its website with a list of protest sites. from the happening now live desk, special report and the sunday news show like "meet the press" which it calls fox news sunday. let's bring in craig crawford, hi, craig. >> hi. what they're worried about in
terms of the effect in society, the in by the side door method of explaining. explain the process in better terms than i use and why they would be worried about it. >> back in the old monica lewinsky days, a crazy rumor or a story would start in a blog or a gossip rag, somewhere on the internet. then it would move to english newspapers. then it would move to a tabloid here. it used to take a week or more. now it's a lot quicker. >> if a tv outfit covers one story and that lewinsky thing is a perfect example, but however trumped up and they cover it 400 shows in a row, the real news outlets begin to question themselves. >> what happens is the main street media gets hammered being attacked for covering up the story.
then, they feel like they have to do something and in some cases, they write about how they are not writing about the story and why or cover the people attacking them, and pretty soon the story is in mainstream media and becomes real. i would point out, with what fox news does, if the attack is they are a republican campaign machine, they did a lousy job of it. we have a democratic congress, democratic congress and most of the world worships barack obama. >> i have no credibility to tell anybody to pushback against fox news. the active pushback against media outlets has got to be a tight rope. what do you see the negatives as
being? >> the problem for presidents, when they punch down, take on a lesser folk, presidents are better when they punch up and take on bigger foes. lawmakers on capitol hill, republicans in the way with their legislation. they seem to take a kid glove approach to some of the republicans and conservative democrats on capitol hill. that's where their problems lie. it's not fox. i think, one thing they are concerned about is the mid-term election coming up. because, with such low turnout, in midterm elections, the feisty, even minority of the voters, the republicans and conservatives who watch fox can have a disproportionate impact. so if fox is allowed to really whip them up, it could hurt a lot of congressional races for democrats on the house and senate side.
>> what about the bully theory? you learn the bully is going to hit you, whether or not you hit back. >> right. the best defense can be an offense. take on somebody equal to you in the great arena of politics. i think taking on a cable channel like this, singling out a certain host allows them to continue the circus and the almost comic opera of characters good and bad and villains they play on that network. this white house is helping them feed that story line. >> i'm just glad there's somebody helping me do this. craig crawford, thanks, craig. >> good to be here. there's a perfect example of mainstream of course the crazy stories in "worsts" tonight. calling tv executives pushing story lines about volunteering maoists.
and then the balloon boy story took another bizarre twist. the reality show dad thought he would get out of the stunt, he eat already written the theme song. now to sing some of it for you before the commercial, you know him as the cop in our re-enactment of the arrest of senator larry craig. and as the happy typist in the liz beckman e-mail saga. here's "countdown" producer kerry fox. ♪ when you want to learn the mysteries of how things work ♪ tune into the show that's really effective ♪ ♪ watch richard heene, science detective ♪ welcome to the now network, population 49 million.
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(announcer) you should never take reclast if you're on zometa, have low blood calcium, kidney problems. or you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing. take calcium and vitamin d daily. tell your doctor if you develop severe muscle, bone or joint pain or if you have dental problems, as rarely, jaw problems have been reported. the most common side effects include flu-like symptoms, fever, muscle or joint pain and headache. nothing strengthens you like an old friendship. but when it comes to our bones, we both look to reclast. you've gotta ask your doctor! or call 1-866-51-reclast. year-long protection for on-the-go women. >> another song of the balloon family. so confident was he he was so confident he would get a reality show that richard heene already wrote a theme song.
what in the world does the congressional sportsmen's caucus do? his answer -- we hunt liberal, tree-hugging democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition. it's a stupid joke to a stupid jokey question. but congressman, three civil rights workers were lynched from trees in your district in 1964. at minimum, the joke is in very bad taste. harper's spokesman said no apologies were forthcoming and the remarks were going to be fun. i'm not true all your constituents would think it is a joke. just say it was a joke, it was meant as a joke, i'm sorry. why sit so freaking difficult? rush limbaugh is upset because someone caught on to his real deal. they've got a reporter who talks me, carol costello. she's a beat report assigned to me. that's why i call her a stalker.
that talk radio made our country viciously partisan. they went out and found a psychiatrist to analyze the situation and the answer is that i bully you. well, you know what, carol, you need to go sit on a fire hydrant and, you know, improve your day. >> emotionally, rush limbaugh is is a 14-year-old boy. but our winner, lonesome roads beck, the "l.a. times" industry foundation found one of the top hollywood organizations has gotten its members on all the broadcast networks, many of the cable ones to put story lines in dramas and come disfor a week. the chairman was inspired by the call for more volunteerisms by candidates mccain and obama. the esteemed vp of programming mitch metcalf said, we're lucky the obama administration happened to think this is a worthy cause and that the first lady in particular is behind this general effort, but that
just provides support and shines a spotlight on it. we're certainly not servicing the white house. they were inspired by mccain and obama. they were going to do it before mccain was elected. and one week before the volunteering spotlight is fox. this is an nbc conspiracy with obama and chairman mao. are we running out of the volunteers in this country? are we creating a problem that doesn't exist, to have an emergency that doesn't yet exist? no, you're nuts. or is it just a coincidence that all this falls into line with obama's call for more service and volunteerism, or not a coincidence at all? no, you're nuts. this is fantastic! it's almost like we're living in mao's china right now. but mitch metcalf and eif board member and nbc executive -- my god, it can't be, this can't be true, right? an nbc executive?
no, you're nuts. obama controls the message through the media he holds in his pockor his little hand that soon, if you disobey, you will just go. no, you're nout nuts. now the message will be embedded in television shows and isn't that great? lnt you proud of what we're doing? no, you're nuts. information control. i' going to break it down for you. and i believe by the end of the week, you will be shocked. no, i'm shocked now! dude, it's about volunteering. charity. ain't got squat to do with who's president. it's what you claim every other day of the week you believe in. it's being done by your own employers. seriously. glenn, delusional paranoia is a held of a disease, man. see a pastor, get a pill, check in somewhere. you're nuts.
there is a great risk in becoming a publicity hound. and in our number one story on the "countdown" kcarrie prejean and richard heene are discovering the down side separately. ms. prejean is literally being sued over her breast augmentation. ms. california usa, the pageant company requesting that ms. prejean return $5200. that would be the money it gaye her for the augmentation, all for the countersuit, which
stated, quote, she might have avoided this legal battle." she sued the pageant for, among other things, disclosure of private facts, but they claim the augmentation became available in the swimsuit computati computation. back at the flying heenes, the theme song for his reality show was played earlier on the show. here it is from him. ♪ when you want to learn the mysteries of how things work ♪ ♪ whether the planets the whole universe ♪ ♪ tune into the show it's really effective ♪ ♪ watch richard heene science detective." joining us now, as the blood flows from our ears. he went with the rhyme of
effective and detective instead of heene and bikini. >> or heene meanie, mini ho. so many great rimes out there. get a thesaurus. >> is there a relationship between that song and this poor kid falcon heene vomiting twice on tv? >> no, but there is a relation to me vomiting when i heard them at home? >> these songs, if they were put in a balloon, no one would chase them. >> another line of the song and he would have been singing through the top of his head, his voice would have had to have gone so high. >> ode to billy joel on crack. >> how do you grade this guy on the scale of great showbizness fathers? >> somewhere between ozzie osborne and john phillips, dog
the bounty hunter. this guy makes john and kate look like the von trapp family. at least he didn't put the kid in the balloon, though. but please, put the songs in there .. >> is he going to get a reality show? and which network? >> some of the background movie reminds me of "deliverance." logo. or sci-fi which has that interesting spelling. i don't know, i think fox news because obama has already made that okay for us to hate. though you were ahead of that curve. >> thank you. i knew i had to be eventually. psy-fi as in psychotic. to ms. prejean, you play judge judy in this equation. does the ms. california pageant have a chance of getting their breast augmentation loan back? >> they would have a better chance of getting the breasts
themselves. no, no that money is spent. we were talking about balloon boy. we're talking about balloon girl. >> softball. >> she could be a float in the macy's thanksgiving day parade. she's very inflated and she's not giving it back. >> she says her privacy was breached when the boob job came out, and yet she didn't have a problem sort of positioning herself to, you know, get in the privacy of the lives of gay people who wanted to get married. do you think the irony of that is intellingable to higible to ? >> two same-size breasts should not be discussed as two same-size genitals. whatever. >> the duke university physiological study of young men on election night last year says
testosterone levels of young men who voted forn5úd> president last year. that hasn't been mention since last year. >> no wonder there were flaccid penises everywhere. >> we almost got through one segment. >> but carrie prejean's bosoms has remained firm. >> that's "countdown" for this 2,354th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in iraq. keith olbermann, good night and good luck. and there's a prop 8 festival in maine.